Files 40.alpha: Creation timestamp & Wallpaper portal

Hi there, GNOME Planet.

In my last post I’ve promised that the next one would have screenshots of new developments in the Files app, and it’s finally here!

It took me longer than I expected back then. After the 3.38 release, I had to had to focus my time elsewhere: assisting and training local primary health care teams in managing and following up of the raising number of COVID-19 cases assigned to them. With this mission accomplished, in December I’ve picked up again on my GNOME contributions and have something to show you now.

Files 40.alpha

Last week we have reached the alpha milestone for the upcoming version 40 of GNOME Files. The highlights of this pre-release milestone are a long requested feature to show files creation timestamps and an enhancement to the Set as Wallpaper action.

Creation date

Finally the screenshots!

List of files sorted by creation date
“Created” column can be added by right clicking on the list headers.
List of files sorted by creation date
The full date and time is shown in the file Properties

This was made possible thanks to Thunar developer Andre Miranda’s laudable initiative to implement the low-level glue for all GIO-based apps to benefit from. It was then easy for me to add the column to list view, and for Apoorv Sachan to add it to the Properties dialog (a nice follow-up to his GSOC project cleaning up the Properties code and UI).

This is a new feature, so it would be great to have people testing it before the final release. It’s easy to test, see instructions at the end of this post.

There as some open questions:

  • What to do for files and folders in file systems for which we don’t have access to the creation date (e.g. FAT, NTFS)?
  • Should we do something in case the Modified date is older than Created date, which is counter-intuitive even if technically correct?

Wallpaper Portal

There is a “Set as Wallpaper” action in the context menu for image files, which had a few odd behaviors which were not in sync with the user experience provided by the Settings app.

Thanks to Felipe Borges, not only have these problems been fixed, but the feature has been enhanced! Now you get a preview of the wallpaper, so you can confirm this was the correct picture and whether it’s going to look good, before confirming the desktop wallpaper change.

This is provided by the wallpaper portal created for sandboxed apps, but it works even outside Flatpak.

More coming soon

There are some more enhancements which didn’t make it into this milestone, but which I hope to be able to deliver before the beta milestone. I’ll talk about them in a future post.

I’m also very happy to see many new contributors fixing both major and minor bugs and implementing exciting features in the Files app. Now, back to reviewing the MRs, so that I can highlight their contributions in a future post!

Testing

For testing the latest developments in the GNOME Files, without modifying the Files app in your system, there is a Nightly flatpak. To use install it, copy and run the following command in a Terminal:

flatpak install --from https://nightly.gnome.org/repo/appstream/org.gnome.NautilusDevel.flatpakref

The Nightly can now be launched from Activities, or with this command:

flatpak run org.gnome.NautilusDevel

(If your operating system doesn’t support flatpak out of the box, see the Quick Setup guide.)

Join the Conversation

13 Comments

  1. > What to do for files and folders in file systems for which we don’t have access to the creation date (e.g. FAT, NTFS)?

    Both track creation dates, so this sounds like a bug with the driver not exposing them via statx(), not a GNOME issue.

    (Same for zfs, unfortunately its github issue for statx has stalled…)

    I would still display the field, but show “Unknown” as the value.

    > Should we do something in case the Modified date is older than Created date, which is counter-intuitive even if technically correct?

    Maybe show Modified as “Contents modified” as the first item, and Created/Accessed as “File created/accessed” below it? This might make it clearer that Modified is a different kind of date.

  2. This is great !
    I hope someone can pick up the long running issue of image previews in the Gtk file dialog – with Gtk4 it should be possible to do this in a sane way without having to load all the images into memory at once.

    1. The file dialog is part of GTK itself, it’s not the Files app.

      It’s a common misconception because they were made to look almost the same from a user point of view. But they are totally independent and maintained by different teams.

  3. Where do you get the creation time? With what filesystems does it work? Because on classical Linux filesystems like ext4, there is no such thing as the creation time for files I thought. (Note that “ctime” is not “creation time” but change time of the metadata)

    1. ext4 itself has always supported creation time, but it was only recently that Linux got support for reading it.

  4. Great progress. Exciting times ahead. BTW is there any update on file chooser port to GTK4? Are we finally going to get thumbnails in file chooser? Please enlighten.

    1. The file chooser is part of GTK itself, it’s not the Files app.

      It’s a common misconception because they were made to look almost the same from a user point of view. But they are totally independent and maintained by different teams.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *